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How To Make Vanilla Extract (Homemade Vanilla)

You’ll need two ounces of vanilla beans, one pint of vodka, and one jar. A dark-colored glass jar is preferable to a clear container.

Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and place them in the jar. Add more vodka if desired. Close the lid tightly and shake it up before putting it in a cool, dark place for at least six months before use.

To use, add one-half teaspoon of vanilla extract to your favorite dish. Refrigerate the rest and you’ll have homemade vanilla extract to use over and over again!

What kind of vanilla beans should you buy? According to the experts, it all depends on the recipe. Medium-difficulty recipes, such as cakes and candies, will work best with “Reggiovanni.” It’s a medium-quality bean with a fruity berry taste worthy of baking. For more complicated beverages, such as coffee or liqueurs, go with “Madagascari” or something similar. It’s an expensive bean, at about $12 per ounce, but it’s the best for cooking.

Reviews Of This Recipe

With a growing number of consumers looking for natural foods, the market is ripe for the production of organic vanilla extract. Many companies are now offering this product to those interested in quality food products.

However, not all “organic” vanilla extracts are created equal; there is a difference between making products that contain 100% pure vanilla and vanillin-flavored products. All natural vanilla extract contains two ingredients: alcohol and vanilla beans as well as water if added to water-based solutions.

However, while the alcohol in vanilla extract is often a by-product of distilling industrial alcohol, that’s not always true of all organic extracts. You really should test products made especially for use in home cooking or baking to determine if they contain added alcohol. If so, the product could ruin baked goods and beverages.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make vanilla extract? Homemade Vanilla Extract is prized for its rich, complex flavor and incredibly smooth aroma. There simply is no substitute. Enhance your baking to a whole new level with this easy to follow homemade vanilla extract recipe that only needs a few simple ingredients.

Many people are often familiar with clear or imitation vanilla extract. The difference between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla is simple; pure vanilla extract is made from whole vanilla beans extracted using 35%+ alcohol – that’s it! Don’t be fooled by extracts that claim to be pure. Imitation and clear vanilla utilize artificial flavors and harmful chemicals. Pure vanilla extract should be dark brown; the color of Vanilla Beans used in the extraction process.

Making vanilla extract is fun and simple! Here’s all that you’ll need:

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How to Make Vanilla Extract


8 oz. Glass Bottle or Jar

7 Vanilla Beans

1 cup Vodka 70 Proof/35% Alcohol (or you can also use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy; any brand/quality)

Step 1: SLICE

Slice each bean once long-ways and place in bottle. (If it helps to cut them into smaller, tootsie roll-sized pieces so they fit in the bottle more easily, go for it).

Step 2: POUR

Pour one cup of vodka, rum or alcohol of your choice (no cheating now — the whole cup needs to go into the bottle). Make sure vanilla beans are completely submerged.

Step 3: SHAKE

Shake once or twice a week – for best results, shimmy to the beat of “Rock Lobster” by the B52’s.

Step 4: WAIT

Wait about 8 weeks (plenty of time to research oodles of scrumptious Baking Recipes)

Presto, your alcohol has turned into delicious vanilla! Store it at room temp and out of direct sunlight, and you can enjoy this puppy til’ the last drop!

What makes homemade vanilla extract so much better than “store bought”? First, you have control over the quality and type of vanilla used in the extract. Using premium grade vanilla beans will provide significantly better flavor and aroma than commercially produced extracts. Did you know that you can make vanilla extract from different types of vanilla beans? Each different vanilla variety will create a unique flavor!

Do you prefer bold and smokey? If so, try Ugandan vanilla beans. Traditional, rich and creamy? Use Madagascar Vanilla Beans! Floral aroma with a unique cherry-chocolate flavor? Venture to the Tahitian vanilla beans. You can even blend various varieties together! The floral, fruity, cherry like notes of the Tahitian variety blend wonderfully with the nutty-chocolate character of the Bourbon varieties.

After 8 weeks the vast majority of the extraction process is complete. At this point, the vanilla is ready to use and the vanilla beans can be removed. If the vanilla beans are left in the bottle, the flavor will continue to evolve just like a fine wine (just be sure the beans are always submerged in alcohol).

In addition to premium vanilla beans, we also offer decorative glass bottles to display your creations along with free printable homemade vanilla extract labels to dress up your bottles.

Whether you are a seasoned baker, procrastinating about making vanilla extract, or looking for the perfect holiday gift this year— then look no further! Check out our Homemade Vanilla Extract Kit.

Making vanilla extract is a fun, easy way to bring a favorite recipe to the next level. Whether you decide to try out our infusion kit first hand or give it as a gift this holiday season, we are sure you will agree that there is no substitute. You found your secret ingredient.

Is vanilla extract clear or brown?

Good quality extracts are caramel colored. If the liquid is clear with a yellow tint, it has been cut with alcohol. If it comes from Mexico or contains artificial flavors, it may be green. These “flavors” are not real vanilla and do not contain any actual vanilla bean content.

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Are there different types of vanilla beans?

Vanilla beans come in many different forms from whole to pure extract. There is a vast difference between cheap, artificial extracts and high quality, pure vanilla flavor. The best way to enjoy all the natural flavor notes in your favorite dishes starts by choosing whole vanilla beans or pure extract made from real ingredients (not synthetic flavorings).

Does vanilla extract have color?

Vanilla extract should be a deep brown color. If it’s a clear liquid, then it was likely diluted with alcohol. Good quality vanilla extract is made from whole vanilla beans. Pure vanilla extract (vanilla made from real ingredients) is dark brown and can range in color from dark brown to almost black depending on the variety used.

Does imitation vanilla contain alcohol?

Most imitation extracts do not contain any alcohol at all because there is no actual vanilla in them – just synthetic flavorings so they are able to market these products for use in baked goods and beverages. However, some do contain 35%+ Alcohol as the extraction solvent (just like pure vanilla).

What does % alcohol mean?

All extracts contain some kind of alcohol. So what does the term “35% Alcohol” actually mean? The percentage of alcohol written on an extract label refers to the volume of pure ethyl alcohol (ethanol) contained in that product as determined by the distiller during processing. The actual concentration can vary quite a bit, especially among imitation and artificially flavored extracts, but it’s always listed as a percentage by volume. Contrary to popular belief, this number is not a measure of strength; nor is it a guarantee of purity or quality or flavor.

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Is pure vanilla extract white?

It depends on the type of product you are buying. Clear or white extracts will be made from imitation or artificial flavors, which contain very few if any actual vanilla beans. Dark brown extracts will have some kind of coloring, usually a color enhancing agent called vanillin.

Is vanilla extract safe to drink?

There are no additives or artificial chemical flavorings in pure vanilla extract from premium beans and it’s therefore safe to consume. Keep in mind that alcohol is poisonous.

Is vanilla extract food grade?

Yes, all our products are made in the USA and comply with US FDA guidelines. Our products are compliant with applicable US GMP requirements. When purchasing a food grade product, be assured you are using a safe and natural product made from real vanilla bean flavor. Vanilla Bean Company knows that your health is of utmost concern to you so our products meet or exceed all requirements for safety, shelf life and quality control.

Is vanilla extract black?

Some premium vanilla extract brands may appear black in color. This is the result of using higher quality beans and allows a more full and pure extraction of natural vanilla flavor to develop.

I’ve heard that pure vanilla extract can be used as an antiseptic, why is that?

Pure Vanilla contains high amounts of vanillin, which has been known to have antibiotic properties. Some consumers use it on scrapes and cuts or diluted as an after shave lotion. Keep in mind that alcohol is poisonous; use only as directed with adult supervision and discard any unused solution.

Why is vanilla white when vanilla extract is brown?

Pure vanilla extract is a natural product made from real vanilla beans and contains 35% alcohol as the extraction solvent (just like wine). Good quality vanilla extract will be a nice dark brown color; imitation extracts are used for baking and often clear. Clear or white extracts contain artificial flavorings.

Are your products safe if they have alcohol in them?

The % alcohol listed on the label refers to the actual volume of ethyl alcohol contained in that product which is a natural by-product of extraction. Alcohol is poisonous but when used in moderation is relatively safe.

As you can see, making vanilla extract is fun and easy.

In just a few steps, real vanilla beans can be placed in a bottle of vodka, bourbon, rum or whatever liquor you have on hand. You can use any type or brand of liquor for the infusion process but if you have the time to make your own—then we highly recommend you take advantage of the opportunity!

There are many different types of homemade vanilla extract recipes available online; however, we’ve found that a simple recipe utilizing high-quality ingredients produces exceptional results when used correctly. It is important to note that we used good quality beans and alcohol for this extraction process (not the cheapest option available).

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